From the time I started cooking (before age 8,) I have invented recipes and tweaked others’ recipes — I rarely follow a recipe exactly. An exception is the first time I bake something from a recipe, since baking requires a little more precision than preparing something like, say, soup or a salad. Many of the recipes I post here are at least inspired by someone else’s recipe, a droolingly tempting food photo, or a dish we tasted in a restaurant. I love tasting and trying to figure out all the ingredients in a dish, running home and trying to duplicate it. Sometimes I just look in the fridge or pantry and invent something to eat from whatever we have on hand. I think I passed my cooking style on to my sons, too. They are both excellent cooks and enjoy treating their families and friends to creative, unusual meals.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading and preparing some of the recipes here. If you do, please let me know by leaving a comment. And if you make your own delicious tweaks and want to share your ideas, please do!
Thin, clear rice noodles … a bed of mixed greens, lots of fresh raw vegetables, tofu, maybe some sliced meat, peanuts, fresh herbs and a very light oil-free dressing. Ahhh … a meal from Vietnam-heaven made for warm summer nights! It’s an amazing light, healthy meal. Try this dish this week!
I listen to the Splendid Table on our local public radio station.
Love that show!
Awhile back I heard a segment that included a recipe for coconut macaroons, and decided to save it for the inevitable sweet-tooth-attack.
Well, this morning I wasn’t really having a sweets craving, but … I wanted to bake something in case anybody with a sweet tooth came into the gallery today.
These are a really easy treat to make — leave out the pecans, or substitute a different kind of nut if you want.
They’re low-fat too!
Okay. I admit to bribery. Well. Attempted bribery. I’m hoping that serving up some homemade goodies at our little downtown Helena gallery will entice folks to visit today. I wanted to make something sweet, but having just watched the trailer for the new anti-sugar documentary, “Fed Up,” I decided I also needed to make a savory treat. We had all the ingredients around for a cheesy decadent something-or-other. So, in typical Maureen-fashion, I tweaked a basic recipe and ended up with something I can write home about. These are SO easy — and they are positively addictive. Hope you try the recipe. Or, come visit me at 1+1=1 Gallery today or tomorrow.
Lately I’ve been craving the chewy mouth feel of Anadama bread. It really truly no-kidding is incredible delicious!
I broke down and baked some this week. Sigh. It’s so good. My husband loves it too. When he tasted the first warm slice his comment was, “To hell with Dave’s bread. This is better!” That’s saying alot around here. Dave’s bread is Tim’s bread.
I made a slightly healthier version than the one I learned as a college student. I used whole wheat flour and flax meal, less salt, a teensy bit less butter. Read on, to find out how I made this incredibly delicious bread.
My favorite way to drink ginger tea is to make it from fresh ginger root, brown rice tea (genmaicha) and lemon zest. The flavors of made-from-scratch ginger tea are incomparable to the store-bought kind. And, what’s really yummy about this recipe is the way the ginger and lemon flavors blend with the toasty-almost-like-popcorn-but-it’s-really-toasted-rice flavor. OMG yummo!
What’s the twist with these peanut butter cookies? Candied ginger and hand-chopped super-dark chocolate chunks. Plus less sugar than most cookie recipes call for. This gives you a deliciously crisp, buttery peanut butter cookie with little surprises of sharp chewy ginger and morsels of the best chocolate ever. And they’re not too sweet. The cookies will be soft and chewy at first, but after totally cooling, they’ll be perfectly crispy/chewy. Lovely with a cup of Darjeeling tea or a glass of cold milk (or whatever milk-alternative you like.)
I made these for lunch today, though the Creamy Pumpkin Chai Soothie would be just as happy at your breakfast table, or being sipped around a fire after dinner. It’s a little bit sweet. A lot healthy. Smooth and creamy. And if you aren’t into being as healthy as all that — bake up some French Breakfast Puffs to serve with it. Yummo!
When the cold weather hits, the hot chocolate comes out. Here’s a non-dairy variation on hot chocolate: made with coconut milk, dark chocolate chunks, pecans and bananas to add body and nutritious goodness. Serve it right away while it’s still foamy and hot.
We fed Sam, our flatcoated retriever, a raw food diet for over 10 years, and he absolutely thrived on this diet. Sam died at that ripe –very old — age of 20, a natural death, and we were by his side. We adopted Charlie, another flatcoat (cross) when he was 10 years old, and have been feeding him the same diet since he came to live with us. He is happy, healthy, and full of energy. His coat glistens. He looks forward to mealtime. And we feel good that we’re feeding him this healthy food. Check out my recipe, developed through experience, research and common sense.
In spite of thoroughly mangling a perfectly good plum jam recipe, I stumbled on the best plum jam ever! So I’m giving you the recipe exactly as I made it. Mangled. Feel free not to follow the recipe — except oh, pleeease do not skip the brandy, cinnamon and vanilla. And if it turns out too runny to be jam — pour it on your pancakes and call it syrup. Yummo!
Adia named this smoothie, Fruitypants Frappé. It looks like a frappé. It’s definitely fruity. And she wears pants. A lot. So, the name makes sense. …
I adapted a recipe to make these *awesome* roasted almonds even more flavorful than they originally were. You have to try these. They really are easy. Easy. Easy. And so gratifying. Great for gifts, too. I’m going to make some with pecans next.
Faced with a large box of freshly picked, incredibly fragranced red plums, I had to think of something to bake. I settled on a variation of an upside-down-cake from my childhood. I used brown butter because Joy Wilson — Joy the (awesome) Baker — inspired me by waxing poetic about it’s virtues in this post. I used the plums. Of course! And we had blueberries, so I added some of those. If you have alot of plums to use up, this will barely make a dent. Still, it’s worth the small effort. Quick. Easy. Beautiful. And the finished cake makes you look like you worked on it for hours. Yummo!
If you don’t have peaches sitting on your kitchen table right now driving you crazy with their incredible fragrance, run out to your local farmers market or produce stand and buy some. Just do it. You know you want to. Then, with at least two of those glorious globes, make this Late Summer Peach Smoothie. And. Smile.
Try this quick (10 minutes) recipe for Maple-Herb Roasted Walnuts. They are crunchy and sweet-savory, kinda like candied nuts but more flavorful. You can use just about any kind of nut instead of walnuts: pecans, almonds, cashews or peanuts. We like to put these on our leafy salads. The walnuts are especially tasty on lettuce with crumbled gorgonzola cheese and a simple olive oil + lemon juice dressing
Quick! Before summer is officially over and watermelons and peaches are just sweet memories, make at least one batch of this awesome smoothie! I used some leftover frozen agua fresca that I made last week, plus spinach, coconut milk and almonds. If you don’t have frozen agua fresca cubes, just substitute the ingredients that go into the aqua fresca (watermelon, peaches, ice) and you will have an amazingly delicious and easy smoothie
Oh Puh-leeease. You have to try these smoothies for your kids. Or for yourself. The Berry Mango Breakfast Smoothie has everything a healthy breakfast has in it: protein, whole grain carbs, calcium, lots of fruits (with all the phytonutrients that go along with fruits) and of course, tons of flavor. It’s satisfying and will last your kids until lunchtime or morning snack time. Try it!
Sweet juicy peaches. Late summer lazy afternoons. Thunderheads building in the blue, blue sky. Perfect time for a peach pie. Especially if you are having a cooler-than-normal day when you can have the oven on and not bake yourself out of the house! Try this delicious peach pie and check out the Best Ever Pie Crust recipe too.
The Orange Brain Shake is legendary. It’s been featured on a television news broadcast. Also on many school mornings when my two sons were growing up. It’s one of the most popular smoothies I used to make at Florence Crittenton Home (for pregnant and parenting teens) and one of the most requested recipes from the girls after they leave the home. Simple to make, this smoothie has just 6 ingredients: oranges, almonds, lecithin, soy milk, ice and vanilla. Try it! I know you’ll love it
Want a super healthy, kid-friendly smoothie recipe that you can serve your kids for breakfast, lunch, snack or even a dessert? This Peanut Butter Chocolate non-dairy smoothie tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, only better! I made this extra smoothie this week especially for Stephanie and her daughter, Kristina, at her request. I love that she is careful about her child’s nutrition, and remembers how delicious a healthy meal can be! You rock, Stephanie!
When it’s hot outside, a smoothie is the perfect breakfast or lunch. Rich in vitamins, fiber, protein and minerals, smoothies give you just about everything you need in a meal. This one is a true delight, sweet, cold, with an amazing mouth-feel. Tropical Guava Delight is a combination of guava, pineapple, lemon, coconut, vanilla and raw hazelnuts. Just right for a late summer day. Go for it! Yuh-Ummmm!
Growing up I made this recipe for peach cobbler from the Gasparilla Cookbook. I think we (my family) were all so inured to sugar that my memory of the cobbler is warped. I’ve made it twice in the last couple of weeks trying to get back to that way I remembered it. In my memory, this “Prize Peach Cobbler was not as sweet as this one turned out. So, I made it again this time using less sugar and butter. I like my version better.
This delicious smoothie is inspired by memories of the agua frescas we drank on our travels in Central America in the 70s. Watermelon is the perfect refreshing fruit for a hot summer day. Combine it with mango and coconut milk and a half a lime for an amazing medley of flavors.
I set out to invent a smoothie that tasted (sorta) like a cherry pie. It sorta does. For this smoothie, I had some excellent help from my professional kid-tasters, Ema and Adia. Here is the result: Cherry Pie Chill. If you try it, especially if you tweak the recipe, I’d love to hear how it came out.
This Raspberry Lemon Lurch (Smoothie) is so danged good that you will be lurching around with pleasure while you drink it, or immediately afterwards. Like. A. Zombie. A satisfied. Zombie. So, try it and get your lurch on! And no, that is not a type where I say to add a whole lemon. You really do add the whole lemon. It’s awesome!
Pina Colada smoothies are all over the web, but I decided that instead of trying to copy one of those, I would just use the basics (lime, coconut and pineapple) to invent my own. Adding a half of a lime — peel and all — is one of the tweaks that makes this my favorite smoothie ever. You can add rum if you’re making these for a party… or just leave it as it — excellently awesome and full of pizazz!
If you can find canned pumpkin puree in your local market, don’t wait til cold weather to make this smoothie. It’s UNbelievably delicious. Yes, I know it’s the middle of summer and pumpkin pies are an Autumn thing. But cold creamy smoothies are a thing of any season, and today I happened to have a can of pumpkin puree and two young ladies who say they love, love, love pumpkin pie, so …
This smoothie truly tastes like a chocolate milkshake, even though it has no ice cream — in fact, no dairy at all. It also has no added sweeteners. Frozen bananas and coconut milk create a sweet, smooth creaminess. Use vanilla and a smidge of almond flavoring to make it really yummy. Raw almonds add protein. Unsweetened cocoa elevates this smoothie into the realm of the gods!
Best Ever Oatmeal Cookie recipe from my grandmother, Irene Shaughnessy. It’s been in my immediate family for over 50 years and is one of everyone’s favorite cookies. I have adapted the recipe over the years to include ingredients I can use to fool myself. Fool myself into believing they are healthier. But really these are INCREDIBLE cookies. Check out the recipe. You’ll love them.
Wow! Talk about an energy lift — this smoothie has zing that’ll lift the whole rest of your day while filling you up and making you healthier. Can’t get any better than that. Adding whole lemon slices — peel and all — really gives this smoothie an amazing lemonadey flavor. The lemon and peaches are a yummy combination — they get along well.
June is usually Montana’s wet month and this year it has not disappointed. Here’s a ramble through the Helena Farmers Market, the color green, and a delicious recipe for Market-inspired Soba Noodles and Stir Fried Greens. Enjoy! And let us know if you try the recipe, what you think of it.
Blueberries turn everything purple — tongues, fingers, lips. Purple is good. It’s the color your hands turn when you’ve been scrounging in the blackberry patch in August. It’s the color of some of my favorite garden blossoms It’s a royal color, so make this smoothie and imagine yourself a king or queen. Because you are.
Homemade granola is one of those easy things you can make on a Saturday while you are doing household chores. You can make endless variations of granola if you make your own — and better still — you can make it many times healthier for you by adding just a minimal amount of oil or sweetener (or none at all) and leaving out the nuts if you have someone with a nut allergy.
Pink is pretty. It’s also full of anti-oxidant phytochemicals that are just plain old GOOD for you. This smoothie is loaded with raspberries, and berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods on Earth. Peaches are a very high-nutrition-density food, so are the almonds in this smoothie. This smoothie will make you smile. Check out the recipe.
Are you a smoothie lover who makes the same 4 or 5 smoothies over and over again? I have started a new feature to share my favorite smoothy recipes. Smoothies are an integral part of the Eat to Live food program. You can pack a lot of nutritional goodness in one tall glass. Check in on Saturday mornings for a new smoothie inspiration every weekend.
Check out this souper-delicious and healthier version of African Peanut Stew. It hits the spot on a chilly winter night, or in spring or fall. You can leave out the small amount of chicken meat in this recipe, if you want to make a vegetarian/vegan version. Yummm!
This delicious and healthy spring salad emphasizes Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat-to-Live superfoods: beans, brussels sprouts, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and asparagus. Make enough of the basic salad mix for several meals. It keeps well. When you are ready to serve the salad, put two heaping cups of the basic salad on a large bed of fresh spinach, then add toppings and dressing. Yummm!
Back in 1975, on the third class buses from the Mexican border south to Guatemala, we drank bottled water, cerveza or coke, ate our traveler’s bread (as I have come to remember it) and hardly anything else. Here is a recipe I recreated from memory, for another visit to Mexico later this week. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do.
It’s getting close to that time of year when we do a fruit fast for both health and spiritual reasons. We’re not actually fasting on just fruit this year, but I have been wanting to add more fruit to our daily diets, and make healthier breakfasts and lunches. So, I invented my own dairy-free green smoothie for lunch today.